The Seven Dimensions of Wellness

Moving Toward a Feasible and Well-Rounded Wellness Plan

Are you on a quest for wellness? Are you just looking at your physical or emotional well-being? While physical and emotional wellness are vital, you may be missing several important components of living your best life possible! The seven dimensions of wellness were developed in 1976 by Dr. William Hettler, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute as a holistic approach to wellness. He began with six domains, and over time, the model has been clarified and expanded. The seven dimensions are widely used by health practitioners as a way for people to attain a balanced life. Let’s explore each one and talk about how to make the dimensions of wellness a part of our busy lives.

The Dimensions of Wellness


  • Physical: The physical dimension consists of everything that helps support keeping our physical bodies whole and functioning well. Caring for our physical dimension means moving our bodies regularly, including, but not limited to, an exercise routine that meets people wherever they are at physically and/or mobility-wise, along with staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep. The physical dimension, as with all of the dimensions of wellness, is meant to be adapted to each person, including those with chronic illnesses, mobility issues, and environmental barriers.
  • Emotional: The emotional dimension is about our emotional health. Maintaining a positive attitude as much as possible and managing stress, especially during these challenging times, is at the top of the emotional self-care list. Maintaining emotional health involves acknowledging our emotions as they arise, honoring them as a part of us, and then managing them. Talking about our emotions, rather than bottling them up, is important in developing emotional health. For someone struggling with emotional issues or mental health disorders, this dimension may be a focus and can be adapted to create unique goals that help to restore emotional well-being.
  • Intellectual: If I could rename this dimension, I would call it the lifelong learning domain. As humans, we thrive on growing and learning. In this dimension, we want to keep learning and thinking of things from new perspectives. Professional development, learning or advancing in a new skill, or taking up a new hobby all nurture the intellectual part of ourselves. So many of my students who embrace lifelong learning are especially drawn to this dimension.
  • Spiritual: The spiritual dimension is about our inner purpose and what gives us meaning in life: a sense of wonder and awe. We can nurture this dimension through meditation, walking in nature, mindfulness, breathing techniques, our faith, and more.
  • Environmental: The environmental dimension involves being mindful of our goods consumption and how we treat the environment around us. While recycling is certainly a major —and well-known —aspect of this dimension, it’s really a way of life that places value on the environment we live, work, and play in, and seeks to shape our environment to be more nurturing.
  • Social: The social dimension is about connecting with others in a healthy and balanced way. It may involve picking up the phone or texting a friend or family member, joining coworkers for a lunchtime walk, or joining a community group. It could also entail placing some distance between yourself and those with whom you have unhealthy or hurtful relationships.
  • Occupational: The occupational or professional dimension does not get nearly enough attention! We spend much of our lives at work. This dimension places value on our workplace contributions and encourages us to seek fulfillment in our jobs, and strive for a healthy work-life balance.

Recently an eighth dimension has been added, although it is not widely used. That is the financial dimension. The addition of this dimension is important for 21st-century health. The focus here is on smart budgeting and effectively managing our finances. It includes having both knowledge and access to being financially secure. Perhaps most importantly, nurturing this dimension involves developing a healthy relationship with money.

Want more information? Check out this infographic by Mindbody Inc., or this excellent free and open article on the dimensions of wellness. And stay tuned for practical lifestyle tips for each dimension in our upcoming Wednesday Wellness posts on our social media pages!